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Don’t Kiss Or We’ll Tell

With a strong focus on religious and cultural traditions, many Indians have taken up the responsibility to make sure that Western culture doesn't plague our society. When some of these people find themselves in positions of power, suggestions and advice become more than just that. They become 'rules and regulations'. Meet India's Moral Police, and see their most infamous stories from the last 10 years.
In August 2015, the Mumbai Police raided a bunch of 2-star hotels and resorts in Madh Island, a popular weekend holiday destination outside of Mumbai. 13 couples and 35 others were arrested and fined for performing ‘acts of indecency in a public place’. 3 women were also charged with immoral trafficking. Enraged at this episode, state authorities decided to transfer the officers involved in the raid. However, Madh Island residents defended the Police action, especially since prostitution is rampant in the area, and promised to “gherao” CM Devendra Fadnavis’s home if the police officers were transferred.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, Shiv Sena workers have never been a fan. On several occasions, they’ve threatened to beat up couples, raid gift shops and burn greeting cards to protest the day of love. In the run-up to 14th February 2015, the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha even offered a “quick and easy” marriage service based on Hindu Law, for inter-religious couples.
As soon as photographs of 2 girls sitting near liquor bottles and cigarettes went viral on WhatsApp in August 2015, their college (Kukke Shri Subrahmanyeshwara College, Mangalore) suspended them. The pictures were taken outside the campus, but because a students’ organisation and local people demanded it, the college was forced to take disciplinary action. This incident is very similar to one that took place earlier that year, when Suratkal College suspended a male student and 5 female students over a Facebook photo of the boy lying on the girls’ laps.
Let Sania Mirza tell you about this incident herself. "September 8, 2005 will always remain etched in my memory because the events of that day virtually transformed the course of my life. That was the day when a "fatwa" was reported to have been issued against me for the clothes that I wore on the tennis court. A Muslim cleric belonging to a religious organisation had reportedly issued the fatwa against me in an interview with a journalist of a national newspaper. He had, in fact, said that Islam did not allow women to wear skirts, shorts and sleeveless tops in public, in response to a query posed by the reporter.”
Literally with 48 hours of Yogi Adityanath being sworn in as Chief Minister of UP, “anti-Romeo squads” took to the streets of Meerut in order "to protect the honour of women" and “prevent eve-teasing and ensure the safety of girls" in public spaces. Lots of boys and parents were reprimanded in the days that followed, but we cannot say for certain that the lines between crime control and moral policing weren’t blurred, especially considering the Meerut Police’s history of breaking up couples hanging in parks.
Picture this: It's August 2008, the Pune Police get a call about a possible rave at Taj Cottages in Lonavala, Maharashtra. They check it out around midnight, a party is in full swing. Some girls are dancing topless to the tune of Bollywood songs. A blue film is being played on the laptop. 22 off-duty customs officials from Mumbai's International airport are drunk. Sounds shady and gross? Yes. Does it warrant arrest? Probably not. But they were arrested anyway. They were eventually let off after the High Court ruled that watching porn in your private time was not a crime. Ummm, duh.
As if coming out of the closet weren’t difficult enough already, a police raid would make it even worse. That’s exactly what happened one Tuesday night in September 2013, when Hyderabad police raided a coming out party. Why? Ummm uhhh, Section 294 of the IPC (which prohibits obscenity and illegal acts in public places) - the bar was serving alcohol after closing time! Acts like these only create more fear and increase the stigma against sexual minority groups.
In March 2016, a 7-A-Side women's football exhibition in West Bengal's Malda district was canceled at the last minute. Why? Because the local Muslim residents and Maulvis claimed that the exhibition would have an "adverse impact" on the local girls and womenfolk. They also said that the clothes the women had to wear while playing the sport were against Shariat.
In June 2016, in perhaps the most horrific incident of them all, a man was killed in Malappuram (Kerala) when locals spotted him at 2:30am entered the house of a lady who stays alone. Apparently residents forced themselves into the house too, attacking him and then fleeing the spot. On hearing word of the incident, the police tried to rush him to a nearby hospital but he died on the way.
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